Inside a long, narrow valley three hundred and fifty kilometers to the southeast of the capital city, an enormous scale of caves had been dug out on the cliff. The metal building that was constructed based on the cliff, covered in dozens of defense rune arrays, was emitting a silver color under the sunlight, giving everybody a cold, suffocating feeling.
This was the White Silver Fortress, the most heavily guarded prison in the Star Glory Federation!
Before, the prisoners of the place were all the most ferocious, evil Cultivators. They were either mentally deranged or had committed crimes that were against the code of conduct of the Cultivators after being consumed by their desires. Every one of them had the blood of hundreds of innocent people on their hands.
However, one month ago, the prisoners had all been transferred to different prisons. The White Silver Fortress, which was already impenetrable, was strengthened once more. A crystal suit legion was stationed next to the prison, and three battle-type Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators were supervising the situation, while the prison was transformed into the facility where the members of the Patriots Partnership were caged!
At this moment, on the hollow ground at the center of the White Silver Fortress, the ‘patriots’, with shackles and barriers on them, were enjoying the fresh air. They gathered in groups of two or three, bathed in the sunlight and talking with each other about the latest situation.
Gathering all the members of the Patriots Partnership together was not for humanitarian purposes but out of more practical concerns.
After more than one month of capturing and interrogation, the non-core members of the Patriots Partnership who had been fooled mostly collapsed. They quickly confessed everything that they had done.
However, the core members, who planned and implemented the explosions in the Federal Square and the attack on the Speaker, were as tough as ever and would speak a word not matter how hard they were interrogated. Even if they did confess something, there was no knowing whether or not they were keeping anything to themselves.
Therefore, Guo Chunfeng had specially arranged for the diehards and the other ‘patriots’ to hang out together, hoping that sparks would be raised from their collision, so that he could pick up valuable information.
The small square was full of surveillance rune arrays. Every word that every prisoner said, and even every blink, would be recorded dutifully.
In one corner of the square, Lu Zui sat cross-legged like an old monk. He looked lethargic, and his eyes were hollow.
His head was tied in a special ring. The twelve ‘Soul Stealing Stings’ on the iron ring pierced deep into his head and suppressed his immense soul power of the Nascent Soul Stage.
He was an admin-type Cultivator who counted on his brain in the first place, and his body was not tough. After his brain was locked, he was just like a random old man who was about to die.
Together with the shackles on his body that weighed hundreds of kilograms and could be charged with high-voltage electricity at any time, the schemer who had nearly dragged all three Sectors into the turbulence of war had no way to struggle.
Guo Chunfeng had hoped that other ‘patriots’ would approach Lu Zui and report to him their latest situation. It would have been even better if Lu Zui had given them any instructions.
If so, Guo Chunfeng would have been able to analyze the information based on the instructions.
However, Lu Zui seemed to have seen through Guo Chunfeng’s aim. As if he were surrounded by a cold wall, no other ‘patriots’ were within ten meters from him. They barely even looked at him.
He seemed to have been forgotten by the world, unable to pose any threat now.
Having no other choice, Guo Chunfeng could only ask his subordinates to pay more attention to the other ‘patriots’.
As it turned out, several diehards and the non-core members began quarrelling.
The diehards berated the non-core members that they were not determined enough, saying that they had forgotten their responsibility to slay evil and save the federation so quickly and that they had ‘betrayed’ so quickly!
The non-core members, on the other hand, scolded that the diehards, calling them a bunch of lunatics who not only tried to assassinate the Speaker but also killed tens of thousands of compatriots in the explosions that led to their eventual doom. Furthermore, they had been dragged into the trouble and turned into shameless traitors!
While they were debating, Guo Chunfeng collected a lot of useful information from them!
Hundreds of Secret Sword Agents who were responsible for the surveillance were all focused on the eyes and lips of the ‘patriots’, and they gradually came to ignore Lu Zui, who was still sitting in the corner.
Lu Zui stared at the argument of the ‘patriots’ not far away indifferently. There was not any expression on his face. If his shallow, gray eyes had not blinked occasionally, he would have been mistaken for a statue.
However, when the two gangs of patriots were about to get into a fight in anger, and when all the guards concentrated their attention on them, Lu Zui’s fingers suddenly moved, and a tiny jade chip showed up in his hands.
Nobody knew how exactly the jade chip had been delivered to Lu Zui, who was locked in the most heavily guarded prison that even an ant would not be able to creep in without permission!
It was an ancient jade chip. The shortcoming of such jade chips was the limited storage, which was only good enough for texts or short videos. However, the advantage was that it did not require a crystal processor. As long as the jade chip was stuck to the forehead, one would be able to read the information inside when the mystic rays of the jade chip pierced through the epiphysis.
Lu Zui yawned. As if uninterested in the argument in the front at all, he faced the wall and crouched.
When he turned his head, the brilliance that was as sharp and clear as icicles that had accumulated over ten thousand years shot out of his hoary eyes!
He stuck the jade chip to his forehead and pinched the activation rune array at the rear. A mystic ray immediately beamed out of the jade chip and penetrated into his epiphysis, producing a 3D image inside his brain!
It was Iron Commander Zhou Hengdao!
“Brother Lu, if you ever see this video, it only means one thing—I am dead, our plan has failed, and the Patriots Partnership has been demolished.”
In the picture, Iron Commander Zhou Hengdao was wearing the biting military uniform, but he was holding the hat in his hands and touching the Rising Dragon of the Nine Stars badge at the center of the hat without pause.
His eyelids were bouncing nonstop, as if countless nails on the badge were stinging his fingers brutally.
After a moment of silence, Zhou Hengdao continued. “The life and death of you and me, and even the existence of the Patriots Partnership, don’t really matter. What matters is our federation and the ultimate civilization of mankind!
“Brother Lu, we walked together because of the same belief. We didn’t hesitate to cross any line, betray the duties on our shoulders, and even kill the innocent compatriots and frame the heroes of the federation!
“We trampled everything that could possibly be trampled on and betrayed everything that could ever be betrayed, and still, this is our outcome.
“Why? Is it possible at all that we’ve been wrong since the very beginning?
“Our purpose was definitely not wrong, but did we choose the wrong approach? If we had chosen a different path, one that was open and forthright, would there have been a better ending for us?
“What about now? Do we still have time to turn this around?
“I don’t quite know the answer.
“I have never been a smart person anyway. I am just a rigid soldier and a bad-tempered veteran. The only thing that I’m good at is killing people. Nothing more.
“However, a ridiculous, immature thought has occurred to this soldier who has more brawn than brains.
“Brother Lu, you are a hundred times stronger than me in terms of computational ability and deduction ability. It’s your call to determine whether the thought is realistic and how exactly it should be implemented if it is!
“No matter what the result it… I have fulfilled my responsibility as a federal soldier.
“How I wish that I can see the federation rising in the sea of stars with my own eyes. I really do…”
Lu Zui listened to Zhou Hengdao’s remarks quietly and analyzed Zhou Hengdao’s ‘ridiculous thought’.
A moment later, he laughed.
At first, he was chuckling. Then, his shoulders were shaking. In the end, he could not hold it back anymore and rolled on the ground like a crazy person, laughing to his heart’s content!
Lu Zui’s anomaly immediately attracted all the guards’ attention.
“Not good. Lu Zui is not right. What’s he doing?”
“There’s something in his hands. A jade chip! What happened? Who gave him the jade chip?”
“Hurry up and control Lu Zui!”
In the surveillance center, Guo Chunfeng was sweating anxiously.
Alarms were ringing in the sky of the White Silver Fortress. Guo Chunfeng led a batch of Secret Sword Agents into the square!
However, before he charged in, Lu Zui had almost cramped because of his wild laughter.
Together with his crazy laughter, immense spiritual energy burst out of his body and crushed all the barriers into smithereens like a torrent!
Streams of spiritual energy flowed out of his body and concentrated into invisible cocoons around his body. Their ripples stopped behind him in the shape of two enormous, colorful wings. He was like a butterfly who had been granted a new life after breaking out of the cocoon!
Lu Zui laughed so hard that tears were flowing out, but his eyes were both radiating as brilliantly as the sun and absorbing everything nearby like a deep, dark black hole. The two opposing feelings were melted into one and did not have any self-contradiction!
Shua! Shua! Shua!
The ‘Soul Stealing Stings’ that pierced deep into his head were pushed out one after another! In less than ten seconds, all the twelve Soul Stealing Stings were pushed out. Even the iron ring that locked his head was broken into pieces and collapsed to the ground!
Guo Chunfeng and the three battle-type Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, who had joined him upon hearing the news, were all greatly shocked. They were all well aware what the tremendous aura flowing around Lu Zui meant!
“A breakthrough… Lu Zui has made a breakthrough under such circumstances and advanced into the high level of the Nascent Soul Stage from the middle level!”
“How is it possible!”
“His body was sealed by barriers, his soul was completely suppressed by the twelve ‘Soul Stealing Stings’, and he was not boosted by any Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures. How on earth could he have made a breakthrough? How!”
“His belief… his belief is even stronger, firmer, and purer than before. Just a random glimpse at me, and I already feel that I am about to be overwhelmed! What… what has happened?”
“What’s inside the jade chip exactly? What is it?”
The three battle-type Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and Guo Chunfeng were all greatly alarmed. Surrounding Lu Zui, they did not even dare to breathe anymore.
Although Lu Zui was an admin-type Cultivator—after all, however many breakthroughs he made, his combat ability would only be equal to a battle-type Core Formation Stage Cultivator in a real fight—everything happening was still too weird. The four of them all felt that their blood was freezing!